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Old 09-21-2009   #1
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Default Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there yet

Look, this is all that needs to be said: We CANNOT be the team who always ends up saying to itself after the game "You know, in the past if we had made those types of mistakes and got down by 2 TDs early in the game, we would have folded and never been back in the game at all."

I have seen that statement made by one of our players after this win on Sunday. And it really made me depressed. Because it all goes back to what we've all been saying: This team spots other teams (clock AND points) and then makes a run at a comeback. This team spots the league the first four games every year, and then mounts a comeback. And each time, it ends up with us being 7-9 or 8-8. Pretty easy to see what's wrong.

So while it was nice to see us get some breathing room; to see us beat the Titans in their own house; and to see us go 1-1 instead of 0-2; it's purely indicative of how we are: Failures at smashing others in the mouth from the opening play, and dominating a team from start-to-finish.

Until we are THAT team, we're going to have more ups and downs. We're going to be back to "Fire ____" threads every 2 or 3 weeks around here.

At some point, this group of core leaders on the team--Mario, 'Meco, and lots of guys on offense, obviously--better start enforcing some laws on their teammates.

If Leach gets flagged for taunting instead of doing his job and walking away, someone needs to let him know about it. If a defender (any of our DBs, actually) doesn't wrap up, and it costs us by allowing the opponent's offense to extend drives and get points, someone needs to rattle that guy's cage a little bit. Guys who know they have a handle on their gameday focus need to be proactive and start holding their teammates accountable.

Ray Lewis does it. Peyton Manning does it. The good teams have someone, or multiple someones, who are out there demanding excellence of everyone.

Our guys are talented, but that's what's wrong: They are relying on finesse and talent. They think if they go out and perform well, that guys around them will follow suit. Some personality types might enjoy trying to model the excellence they see in others. But there are some personality types who won't thrive unless guys around them are getting on their back and pushing them with verbal and maybe even physical enforcement. It's just not going to work as easily for some as it does for others.

We've got to see this team get out there and own a game as soon as the ball is in play for the first play of the game. Play 1 is THE most crucial play of our games. Then, play 2 is the most crucial. Etc. Etc.

Which Texans team shows up vs. Jax? The one that thinks they can slack and drag their feet and make a comeback, or the one who wants to live up to the hype?
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Old 09-21-2009   #2
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

I agree with this. What these guys need to do is approach every game as if their season is on the line. I know it sounds overly dramatic, but this week is a huge game for us. They need to establish consistency -- wasn't last year the first time in the franchise for us to have a winning streak? And you have to beat bad divisional opponents at home. Zero excuses. You have to come out breathing fire in those games, or you will be irrelevant in December. This week was a nice win, but you have to maintain your focus in every game. The Texans have never been able to do so before.
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Old 09-21-2009   #3
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

Both. It depends on which play.
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Old 09-21-2009   #4
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

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Originally Posted by GP View Post
Look, this is all that needs to be said: We CANNOT be the team who always ends up saying to itself after the game "You know, in the past if we had made those types of mistakes and got down by 2 TDs early in the game, we would have folded and never been back in the game at all."

I have seen that statement made by one of our players after this win on Sunday. And it really made me depressed. Because it all goes back to what we've all been saying: This team spots other teams (clock AND points) and then makes a run at a comeback. This team spots the league the first four games every year, and then mounts a comeback. And each time, it ends up with us being 7-9 or 8-8. Pretty easy to see what's wrong.

So while it was nice to see us get some breathing room; to see us beat the Titans in their own house; and to see us go 1-1 instead of 0-2; it's purely indicative of how we are: Failures at smashing others in the mouth from the opening play, and dominating a team from start-to-finish.

Until we are THAT team, we're going to have more ups and downs. We're going to be back to "Fire ____" threads every 2 or 3 weeks around here.

At some point, this group of core leaders on the team--Mario, 'Meco, and lots of guys on offense, obviously--better start enforcing some laws on their teammates.

If Leach gets flagged for taunting instead of doing his job and walking away, someone needs to let him know about it. If a defender (any of our DBs, actually) doesn't wrap up, and it costs us by allowing the opponent's offense to extend drives and get points, someone needs to rattle that guy's cage a little bit. Guys who know they have a handle on their gameday focus need to be proactive and start holding their teammates accountable.

Ray Lewis does it. Peyton Manning does it. The good teams have someone, or multiple someones, who are out there demanding excellence of everyone.

Our guys are talented, but that's what's wrong: They are relying on finesse and talent. They think if they go out and perform well, that guys around them will follow suit. Some personality types might enjoy trying to model the excellence they see in others. But there are some personality types who won't thrive unless guys around them are getting on their back and pushing them with verbal and maybe even physical enforcement. It's just not going to work as easily for some as it does for others.

We've got to see this team get out there and own a game as soon as the ball is in play for the first play of the game. Play 1 is THE most crucial play of our games. Then, play 2 is the most crucial. Etc. Etc.

Which Texans team shows up vs. Jax? The one that thinks they can slack and drag their feet and make a comeback, or the one who wants to live up to the hype?
I agree with just about all of this. This team needs real leadership. They need someone that will demand that excellence on both sides of the ball like Manning, Brady, Lewis, or a guy like Joey Porter will. I don't think that the Texans really get that from the HC obviously, so it would be nice to see a player step up and take that roll.

I do think that we'll beat the Jags though. The Jags have looked just as bad as I envisioned them to, and they probably lost all hope in Del Rio at this point who should have been canned last season. We should be able to win that game, because I don't think I've ever watched a Texans game where they didn't play hard against the Jags. That is the one team that they normally play really hard against. The Texans will beat the Jags for sure.
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Old 09-21-2009   #5
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

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Originally Posted by GP View Post
We've got to see this team get out there and own a game as soon as the ball is in play for the first play of the game. Play 1 is THE most crucial play of our games. Then, play 2 is the most crucial. Etc. Etc.

Which Texans team shows up vs. Jax? The one that thinks they can slack and drag their feet and make a comeback, or the one who wants to live up to the hype?
Exactly. Go out there and totally dominate teams from the kickoff 'til the final gun. That's what great teams do. Rep your way.
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Old 09-21-2009   #6
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

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Originally Posted by Dan B. View Post
I agree with this. What these guys need to do is approach every game as if their season is on the line. I know it sounds overly dramatic, but this week is a huge game for us. They need to establish consistency -- wasn't last year the first time in the franchise for us to have a winning streak? And you have to beat bad divisional opponents at home. Zero excuses. You have to come out breathing fire in those games, or you will be irrelevant in December. This week was a nice win, but you have to maintain your focus in every game. The Texans have never been able to do so before.
And that's because our offense is ran by two guys who stress thinking over brawn. Even the ZBS is an attempt to out-finesse the defense, rather than pancake block and bulldoze all day.

We can't have that mentality, even though our offense is--by nature--a finesse type of offense. AJ is MORE than capable of being a brute and a physical presence out there. And I think as AJ goes, so goes this whole team! The guy is physical. He's aggressive and not afraid of hits.

This team can't act nice and play patty-cake with opposing defenses. It can't think that it's above the fray, and that it can out-maneuver and eventually out-finesses a defense. It has GOT to throw it out there to AJ and OD and have those guys put their shoulder through a DB's chest or head.
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Old 09-21-2009   #7
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

For years, Dunta was our leader in the locker room. He was THE guy that you're asking for, GP.

After his injuries and then his contract squabbles... Now what?
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Old 09-21-2009   #8
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

Quote:
Originally Posted by GP View Post
And that's because our offense is ran by two guys who stress thinking over brawn. Even the ZBS is an attempt to out-finesse the defense, rather than pancake block and bulldoze all day.

We can't have that mentality, even though our offense is--by nature--a finesse type of offense. AJ is MORE than capable of being a brute and a physical presence out there. And I think as AJ goes, so goes this whole team! The guy is physical. He's aggressive and not afraid of hits.

This team can't act nice and play patty-cake with opposing defenses. It can't think that it's above the fray, and that it can out-maneuver and eventually out-finesses a defense. It has GOT to throw it out there to AJ and OD and have those guys put their shoulder through a DB's chest or head.
Agreed. I really think we need to come out passing and force Jacksonville to spread their defense out. Then attack the box with draw plays or short passes/run over the middle. Use the pass to set up the run, in other words. This "run twice for three yards, then pass on third and 7" strategy is not working for us.
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Old 09-21-2009   #9
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

That part doesn't matter so much. If this past weekend's team shows up, in terms of passion and intensity, the rest will come out in the wash. In fact, when players go to war like that for each other, it makes it easier for the coaches to identify talent deficiencies.

As long as they can consistently play with heart, the rest will work itself out.
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Old 09-21-2009   #10
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

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Originally Posted by eriadoc View Post
That part doesn't matter so much. If this past weekend's team shows up, in terms of passion and intensity, the rest will come out in the wash. In fact, when players go to war like that for each other, it makes it easier for the coaches to identify talent deficiencies.

As long as they can consistently play with heart, the rest will work itself out.
yep, the league is fairly equal in talent so the teams that make the least mistakes and the ones that can impose their will more often than not are teams that will come out on top.
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Old 09-21-2009   #11
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

Title says it all
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Old 09-21-2009   #12
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Default Re: Until we open up a game with a lead, and finish teams off early, we're not there

I thought we were there after the Panthers game in 2007. We were up 26-14 at the half, and 31-14 in the third to finish 34-21. I was saying, finally! We worked over a team in impressive fashion.

Boy was I wrong. I dont think its a moment, or a single game that makes a good team. Its a string of games. A season, a couple of seasons. One game means exactly that. one game.
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